This section is from the book "The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: The Secret of Mental Fascination.
Well, this is exactly the breath-rhythm, which, if properly assumed and well "acted-out," will result in drawing to you a greatly increased supply of nerve-force from the universal storehouse of the same, i.e., the atmosphere around you.
I ask you, student, to pause at his point, and reread the preceding paragraph. Consider it carefully, roll it over in our mind, until you fully grasp its tremendous significance, and fully make it your own thought. For in those few lines is condensed a statement of wonderful truth, which, if taken advantage of, will transform you into a very giant of physical magnetism. Do not proceed with this reading, until you have fully grasped the importance of the information just given you.
But do not imagine that you can jump at once into this great power. You must first gradually acquire the exact rhythm for yourself - for I can do no more than to indicate it to you. I cannot say, "Breathe in just so many seconds; hold the breath just so many; and then breathe out just so many," and so on, as many teachers have done - some who should have known better, for that matter. For each person has his or her own particular breath-rhythm of this kind, the difference arising from mental or physical formation and characteristics.
The following is the rule - the only rule - in this matter: "Ascertain, first, the precise breath-rhythm which nature has given you for use in moments of recuperation after extreme mental, emotional or physical strain; and then, second, practice the same voluntarily by assuming, or acting out the mental and physical conditions producing it, until the rhythm becomes fixed in your memory, so that you can easily reproduce it, instinctively, when you wish." Read this rule over until you thoroughly understand it.
You will find it somewhat difficult to assume or act out the conditions producing the rhythm, at first, unless you happen to be a natural or well-trained actor. But keep trying, until you master it. Practice will make perfect, in this as in everything else, remember. Mentally place yourself in the same vibrations as when you were under some great strain of mind, emotion or body, in the past; and you will find that the same will be followed by an acting-out of the period of recuperation, with its accompaniment of appropriate breath-rhythm. Each student will manage this in his, or her, own way, and will get the result, if persistent, persevering effort were made.
You will find that the first indication of the recuperating breath-rhythm will usually be a long drawn out sigh, followed by a moment of rest, which, in turn, is followed by an easy, though deep, slow, deliberate succession of in-breathing and out-breathing, in perfect rhythm, which will be accompanied by a feeling of increased strength and vitality, of mind and body - delighted to experience is the feeling of "relief and fresh vigor, vitality and vim which results from this breath-rhythm.
In practicing this recuperative breath-rhythm for the purpose of resting, gaining strength, or increasing your store of nerve-force, do not fall into the too-common error of artificial rhythmic breathing. Do not make the mistake of trying to count the seconds of the breath; or to make the breaths extend neither over a particular time, nor to exactly match each other; or to retain the breath any special time; nor to count time between breaths; or anything of that kid. Forget all about the artificial standards, and give yourself up entirely to a peaceful, calm feeling of relief and recuperation, which nature will bestow upon you if you will create the right conditions for the manifesting of her power. Do not be artificial - trust nature to "run the thing" aright and leave everything in her hands.
Do not bother at this point, to wonder just how many times a day you must practice this exercise in order to gain physical magnetism and absorb nerve-force. That point will be covered in a latter chapter, in connection with the accompanying process of nerve-force distribution - the sole thing before you now is to learn how to produce this breath-rhythm, and to practice until you can produce it at will, easily and naturally, without effort or strain - instinctively, in fact. Until you accomplish this, there is no use of your bothering yourself about the succeeding stages.
And, now a word about practicing this step. Do not overdo the thing - make hast slowly. It is a matter of growth and development with you, and you should not try to rush things too rapidly. Let nature proceed to make the process instinctive, and do not fall into the mistake of pulling up the roots of our plant in order to see whether it has grown overnight. It will grow. Never fear. You will know when you are on the right track, and will be aware of your progress, by reason of your increasing sense of vigor, vitality and vim.
Remember, finally, that the secret of the whole this is that you have discovered how nature recuperates the system in times of extreme necessity; and have then learned how to draw upon this sources of energy at will, thereby increasing the supply far above the ordinary. It is just as if you had discovered a bottle containing the elixir of energy which kind Mother Nature uses to recuperate you in times of need; and then you had learned that you could partake of the elixir, daily, or whenever you felt like it; and were consequently enabled to increase your energy and vitality far above the average. The comparison or figure of speech is not exaggerated - for in this secret you have indeed discovered the elixir of vitality, vigor and vim; that is, if you use it aright.